Which ancient historical battles are corroborated by mass graves ?

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
8,008
Cornwall
Not if you take ancient texts at face value... Battles of anhilation are not uncommon (e.g. Cannae or in fact many battles of the second punic war such as trasimene where 50%+ are reported dead on the roman side, or trebia 70%+ or Zama 50%+ on the carthaginian side, or Ilipa again 70%+ on the carthaginian side).... Also, the loser would typically leave the battlefield (and often times run away) so only the winners could afford proper burial for their dead, and presumably would not care much about fallen ennemies....
But to Roman-type writers everything was an anihilation. They said the Visigoths were decimated out at Vouille, the Alans and Silingian Vandals earlier wiped out by the Visigoths/Romans and the Suevos wiped out by Leovigildo. In each case it just meant that the leadership/king was killed and they had to amalgamate with somebody else, there were no genocides in these cases.

Sounds better if our good old boys wiped out the opposition though eh? Roman bias clouds a lot of our surviving texts from the 4th, 5th, 6th centuries

As well as Stanilic's point about wide area, a lot of battles were a lot less epic than claimed it seems to me. Silly numbers are bandied about from times when no one could count
 
Apr 2019
121
Ireland
Archaeologists unearthed the remains of 254 people in the proximity of the Lion of Chaeronia monument from the battlefield of the same name. Possibly the remains of the Sacred Band..
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,153
Australia
Archaeologists unearthed the remains of 254 people in the proximity of the Lion of Chaeronia monument from the battlefield of the same name. Possibly the remains of the Sacred Band..
This wasn't a mass grave. It was a standard tumulus where each person received his own separate burial within the tumulus. Nobody would call one of our cemeteries a "mass burial" even though lots of people are buried in close proximity.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2012
490
South Midlands in Merlin's Isle of Gramarye
There is also evidence that some battles were faked. In 1642 in the opening phases of the English Civil War after the inconclusive battle of Edgehill it was suggested by Parliamentary propagandists that there was a dramatic pitched battle at Holman's Bridge, just outside Aylesbury in which a randomly assembled column of parliamentary cavalry and foot fought off an assault on the town by Prince Rupert and his cavalry. Around 1800 a number of dead bodies were found at the supposed site when a turnpike was being built. These were ceremonially interred in a nearby church. Some discharged ordnance of the period has also been found in the area.

However there is written evidence that Prince Rupert was at Abingdon that day, in the next county. A confrontation between his Commissary-General which did take place in the town on a market day towards Christmas that year was conflated with the battle and the couple of hundred dead bodies dug up 160 years later were actually from a Saxon cemetery. The only real evidence to hand is the discharged ordnance but this is more a sign of a brief cavalry skirmish than any battle.

The general view of local historians is that the Battle of Holman's Bridge is wholly bogus, having been thought out on paper. Parliament needed a victory at that moment and one was duly provided.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
8,008
Cornwall
There is also evidence that some battles were faked.
Clavijo 844 in present day Rioja is one such. How many times have you known an Angel appear on a white charger and save the day? Plus in the one (ecclesiastical) source some of the kings quoted as present were not around then at all.

All part of the promotion of the cause of little old Asturias and the Santiago myth